Life Is What You Make It

Last modified on August 7th, 2008

You know, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I really have no idea where I’m going to end up career wise, but one of the things I’ve thought about in the last few years is becoming a real-estate agent. Sure, it’s not something I’d probably enjoy, but I think I could handle the truck loads of money. It’s not something I’ll probably ever do (as I have my own plans), but there’s something to be said for a job outside of the technology sector where you can set your own hours and fill your bank account up with rich people’s cash.

I mean, let’s be honest – how hard is it really to sell a house in this city? It seems like there are million dollar homes going left and right, and I’m stuck on the sideline renting like a sucker. I mean, you take some clients to a house, give them the goods, and then you get a boat load of cash. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Rough life.

Back when I was 15, a realtor in Chilliwack asked me if I could help him do some data mining on the MLS system. Back then, the MLS computer system could be dialed into via modem, so I wrote a little war-dialer for the MLS system that would essentially poll it looking for properties that were about to go on the market (using the taxation records). Given that most real-estate agencies were inefficient back then, he’d often get information using my program about a week before anyone else in town did. He’d then show up at the guys’ house asking if they needed a real-estate agent, which most of them did.

I imagine he made a truck load of money off of my idea, since last I talked to him he was trying to sell my software to other real-estate agents. He, of course, never paid me what he promised to, and as a kid I didn’t have the means to go after him. 16 years later I’m still battling real-estate agents, go figure.

But still, I imagine there are web 2.0 equivalents of the same technology I used back then. I’d probably have the most tech-saavy real-estate web site in the entire province, given all the web technologies I play with daily. There would be a big Flickr gallery, showing lots of my smiling, happy clients, along with some of the amazing beach front property I’d sold. Plus, there would be a pretty amazing photography gallery showcasing Vancouver, just in time for the 2010 Olympics. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t need a photographer to photograph any houses either.

In fact, if I was a real-estate agent in this city, I’d probably be looking to partner with someone like me before 2010. I’d put a pile of great Vancouver photos on your website for you. I’d integrate the MLS onto your website. I’d drive a pile of traffic to you and help you get a pile of sales. Sure, I’d want a warm, juicy piece of the pie, but it would be worth it.

But you know, I doubt that will happen. And maybe when I get bored of the tech sector, I’ll take a stab at selling million dollar properties to the rich and famous. Doesn’t sound like such a bad gig, honestly.

7 responses to “Life Is What You Make It”

  1. Kasia says:

    Hmm, I don’t know much about it but I think it takes more than just showing up and taking the cash to be a real estate agent. That said, getting people to hire you is half the battle (maybe more than half? especially with all the competition out there these days) and no doubt you could market yourself and your houses online so well it would put a sparkle in the eye of the most cynical buyer. You should look into a partnership scenario though, that’s a fan-freaking-tastic idea.

  2. James says:

    Observation 1: I have never met a real estate agent I have wanted to have a beer with. Generalization: they’re kinda slimy.

    Observation 2: The better your name (read: more stripper-like) the better you do in Vancouver. The woman who seems to sell all the waterfront in our neighbourhood is Spice Lucks. Holly Wood rules the roost in West Van. Seriously.

  3. Duane Storey says:

    Good call on the stripper name. In fact, I think I’ll just employ a few strippers and have them at open houses with me.

  4. I worked for a mortgage broker, almost became a broker, then thought of doing the real estate route. When I researched it, by actually talking to real estate agents, I was shocked at the reality of the amount of work they do, and the long hours they work.

    You should do some research. I know it seems like all they do is look up property and take you to see it, but really there is a lot more too it. Most of what they do they pay for out of their own pocket until they close the sale, which means all the advertising, all the road work, and time, is not paid for until the money of the sale swaps hands during closing…

    You’ve inspired me to post about this on my blog, because I think your opinion is jaded and wrong.

  5. Duane Storey says:

    Uh Barbara, in case you missed it, the post is in the “Humour” category. Also, my mom used to be a real-estate agent, so I know full well what’s involved. But if you’ve got nothing better to do than write a rebuttal to a humour post, go nuts.

  6. Andrea says:

    Duane, I thought it was pretty funny.

  7. Duane, it’s hard to pick up that wry sense of humour if we don’t look at the tags at the top of the page (such as if we read it on the RSS feed, like I did). In fact, until I read the comments, and realised you were being funny, I had a very similar response to Barbara’s in mind.

    Now, I live in Saint Louis, in the evil USA– and frankly if things do not show some sign of improvement for us down here soon, Vancouver is on my short list of destinations. But I am worried about a) not being hipster enough for Vancouver, and b) the inequity that shines through when we can laugh about making a living from manipulating contrived, over-inflated values.

    Stick to being an interesting, creative person. It’s a much more honest living, even if you don’t get grips ‘o cash.

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